Plastic-Free July in Croydon

Plastic-free snacks

Posted by Kake on 5 August 2014

When planning for Plastic-Free July, I suspected one of the biggest challenges was going to be finding a source of long-life plastic-free snacks. I’m one of those people who always likes to Be Prepared, and so I carry an extensive kit of useful items around with me, including emergency food sources.[1]

Plus, I’d invited three of my friends to a cocktail party at my house on 5 July, and I wanted to have tasty salty crunchy snacky things to go with the cocktails — preferably without having to make them from scratch myself.

Walnuts, roasted salted corn, chilli almonds, chilli lemon cashews, honey peanuts, and more at the nut stall in the Whitgift Centre, July 2014.

As it turns out, there are plenty of places in and near Croydon to buy unpackaged sweet and savoury snacks. The nut stall in the Whitgift Centre is one of them. Located outside the Perfume Shop in the East Arcade on the lower level (near the visitor information kiosk), it sells salted nuts, honey nuts, chilli nuts, chilli-lemon nuts, roasted corn, Bombay mix, and unusual dried fruits including strawberries, kiwi fruit, papaya, and melon. It also has traditional sweets including fudge.

Everything is mix-and-match, priced at £4 per 200g (i.e. £2 per 100g), and packaged in paper bags by default — but you can also take your own container. Note that this is not the cheapest way to buy large quantities, as it’s aimed at people who want to buy a little bit of lots of different things.

Salted fried broad beans, sesame sticks, wasabi peanuts, and chocolate-coated brazil nuts at As Nature Intended, Balham, July 2014.

As Nature Intended in Balham also has a good selection of unpackaged snack items, including trail mix, rice crackers, spicy fried chickpeas, spicy fried broad beans, wasabi coated peanuts, garlic sticks, and chocolate-coated brazil nuts. Prices here range from around 50p to around £1.50 per 100g.

Salted almonds and pistachios at Lidl, London Road, July 2014.

Lidl on London Road sells unpackaged salted almonds, cashews, and pistachios at 80p–90p per 100g.

Weigh & Save on Church Street also has various nuts and dried fruits, with prices from 75p to £1.50 per 100g. (The salted pistachios at Weigh & Save are nearly twice the price of the ones at Lidl. I don’t know why this is — the Lidl ones I’ve tried were perfectly fine.)

Olives at the Surrey Street Market olive stall, August 2014.

Finally, you can head to Surrey Street Market on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday between 9am and 4pm to buy olives at £3 per 200g. I take a lock-and-lock container for these, to avoid spillage on the way home. My favourites are the anchovy-stuffed ones! The stall also stocks sundried tomatoes, salted cashews, and sometimes sweet items like fudge.

Footnotes and references

  1. One of my main hobbies is urban exploration, which can sometimes take me into decidedly-less-urban parts of London. Pre-packed cereal bars have saved my blood sugar levels more than once when I’ve discovered an obstacle that extends my route significantly further than intended!

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